Aug 25, 2016
Assignment #9 is going to give your teenager and you a chance to see some of the most innovative ideas some colleges have, in my opinion. And it’s such a simple topic: that is, how is the academic year scheduled into terms--semesters, trimester, quarters, or whatever. But, first, let’s review what you have already done (and that’s a lot with eight assignments completed, we hope):
That list is getting so long that it’s hard to review it each week. Good for you, listeners, if you are keeping up with all of the assignments.
So, for Assignment #9, your teenager and you are going to examine the way each college divides up its academic year into terms. This information is readily available on the college’s website. For many colleges, this question will produce a rather traditional response something like this: a fall semester and a spring semester, each running about 15 weeks, give or take a week. Yes, there will also be a summer term or two, and there might even be a super-short winter term between the two semesters. But there are other ways to skin that cat.
Various schedules can be differently appealing to various students. Some students prefer working on several subjects and projects at the same time because that keeps them from getting bored and the ones they like a lot help make up for others that they have to do, for example, to meet distribution requirements. Other students prefer concentrating on one subject or project because that allows them to pay close attention to that one thing and do the very best job they can with it.
Some students like to study something over many weeks because that allows them time for calm reflection and for breaks every once in a while. Other students like to study something over a shorter time period because that keeps them better engaged and focused and allows less time for forgetting.
Some students can do very well when asked to concentrate on subjects or projects in short bursts, but have trouble sustaining interest and attention over longer time frames. Other students are just the opposite.
Colleges can take all of these factors into account in putting together a schedule that does not have to conform to the traditional semester schedule.
Here are some innovative scheduling options we mentioned when we did our virtual nationwide tour of colleges (Episodes 27 through 54). Maybe your teenager would be intrigued by schedules like these:
Let’s take a look at two colleges that do something even more dramatic in their scheduling, which is to make room for significant cooperative work experiences:
Drexel Co-op is based on paid employment in practical, major-related positions consistent with the interests and abilities of participating students. The benefits are obvious—during their time at Drexel, students experience up to three different co-ops.…
Through the co-op program:
Students choose from more than 1,600 employers in 33 states and 48 international locations, or conduct an independent search.
The average paid six-month co-op salary is more than $16,000.
Co-op students are entrusted with projects vital to the day-to-day functioning of the workplace. (quoted from the website)
Drexel operates on 10-week quarters (rather than two longer semesters), which helps when it comes time to schedule co-op programs.
The integration of study and professional experience enables students to put ideas into action through work, research, international study, and service in 93 countries around the world. . . .
Co-op is different from internships – our students alternate classroom studies with full-time work in career related jobs for six months. This allows employers to get real work done while evaluating talent before making any long-term commitments. Our employer relations team is dedicated to collaborating with employers to develop innovative and meaningful programs to engage our talented students. (quoted from the website)
About 90 percent of students at Northeastern do at least one co-op program (with one of the 3,000 co-op employers worldwide); many students do two. In fact, many students actually stay for a fifth year in order to complete a third co-op program.
So, have your teenager take the Assignment #9 worksheet about college scheduling and complete one for each college on his or her long summer list of college options.
The Kindle ebook version of our book, How To Find the Right College, is on sale for $1.99 all summer long! Read it on your Kindle device or download the free Kindle app for any tablet or smartphone. The book is also available as a paperback workbook.